Gareth Southgate details how England can cope without unique Luke Shaw at Euro 2024

Gareth Southgate believes England will have to copy the tactics of top teams to cope without a natural left-back if Luke Shaw is ruled out of Euro 2024.

The Manchester United defender was named in England’s 33-man training squad for the tournament in Germany but Southgate admitted Shaw, who has not played since February, is “up against it” in his attempts to recover from a hamstring injury. Shaw is not in full training yet and appears to be losing his race against time to be fit.

Shaw’s regular deputy, Ben Chilwell, is not even in the squad because of his own injury problems, meaning the right-footers Kieran Trippier and Joe Gomez are the likeliest options to operate out of position.

But Southgate has noted how teams like Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have spent much of the season without a specialist left-back.

He said: “There are very few left-footed left-backs playing. We feel Trippier and Gomez have performed as well in those areas or better than the others, even though one or two might be left-footed.

“I think some of the biggest clubs in our league have had to adapt without a natural left-back. Some have played midfield players there, some have played centre-backs there. We’re going to have to do something similar.

“So you’ve just got to change the way that you build and work out how you can be as unpredictable with the ball as possible even though you’ve not got a left-footer there.

“There isn’t another player like Shaw who can build and come and play off the outside of his foot with that sort of craft. That player isn’t there. So we have to find a different way.”

Shaw is a ‘long shot’ to make Euro 2024 (The FA via Getty Images)
Shaw is a ‘long shot’ to make Euro 2024 (The FA via Getty Images)

Southgate picked five uncapped players in his 33-man training squad and, without Jordan Henderson, Marcus Rashford, Eric Dier and Chilwell, has a youthful group.

His contract expires at the end of 2024 and it gave the appearance he is planning for the future – but said he is, whether or not he will be in charge.

He explained: “I always use Arsene Wenger's quote to me on this: 'You must always manage as if you're going to be there forever but in the knowledge that you could be sacked the following day'. That's football. You can take short-term decisions but you must do what's right for the team or the club or whatever it might be.

“Our view is that some of these boys will be England internationals in the future, some might not be but they'll all benefit from the experience. And they're all in because they've had good seasons, they're playing well and they're contenders to be in the squad.”